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uccc's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 19/10/2013 - 18:01
Posts: 2
Preamp+Active Speakers Vs. AV receiver

Hey all,

Been poking around and I've waded through to the point where I have decided that I likely have too many inputs (3-4) in my secondary setup to rely on a DAC. Currently running out of a monitor's built in speakers, so anything will be an improvement! But I want to do it right.

At this point, do you think it would be better to find a pre-amp with several optical inputs hooked up to a pair of active stereo speakers, or just go for a regular AV Receiver?


Some of my main issues:

Will the DAC in a preamp be any different than the DAC in an AV receiver of similar quality? Marantz/Yamaha/Pioneer/etc.

If I go the receiver route, would passive speakers be best since it is an amp anyway?

Will going with a preamp and active speakers just save a lot of trouble matching speakers and receivers, or would passive speakers be of a higher quality? I am somewhat concerned if the built in amp ever dies I'm out some speakers, whereas I could just get a new receiver w/ passives. I have had my current receiver + passives in my home theater setup for about 10 years, so I know that setup is reliable.

Trying to stay near 2k for the whole audio setup, speakers included. 


Here are my sources:

PC w/ FLAC audio- Optical (Primary source - 95% of the time)

Gaming Console - Optical/HDMI (Now that I can't monopolize the home theater anymore!)

Gaming Console - Optical/HDMI ( " " )

Gaming Console - HDMI



All going to a stereo output as the room is too small for surround sound, and I prefer to focus on quality stereo speakers, potentially upgrading at a later date if I find myself with more space.


Have been looking at AudioEngine 5+, Vanatoo T1's, Adam F7, etc for active speakers. Haven't really hunted down passive speakers yet since I'm not sure if I'm even going that direction.


Thanks for the help!

abacus's picture
Last seen: 1 day 8 hours ago
Joined: 24/09/2008 - 23:16
Posts: 1057
RE: Preamp+Active Speakers Vs. AV receiver

My personal recommendation for your requirements would be to forget HI FI/Home Cinema equipment (Providing it is just stereo you need) and pop along to a professional music store to have a listen to some active speakers with a suitable pre-amp. (As it is a professional music store they will also be able to show you other options that HI FI/Home Cinema dealers don’t do)

Hope this helps


Overdose's picture
Last seen: 3 years 1 day ago
Joined: 08/02/2008 - 18:23
Posts: 3672
RE: Preamp+Active Speakers Vs. AV receiver

An HDMI switch into a DAC/Preamp is what you need.

CYP have a range of products that would work. Maybe a three/four way switch into their own AU-D250?

There's always a good selection of active speakers depending on where in the world you are.

I use ADM9 speakers, which have an inbuilt DAC/Preamp, so you could use an optical switch and feed something like this. They also have a remote volume control which is sometimes useful.

uccc's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 19/10/2013 - 18:01
Posts: 2
RE: Preamp+Active Speakers Vs. AV receiver

Thanks to you both! I will definitely be looking into this.

The switcher -> preamp would be a good solution as well, leading into the active speakers, since I could bypass the need for a receiver and just switch the audio and video to separate sources at the same time anyway.


Sounds like active speakers are as reliable as any other piece of hardware you take proper care of Smile

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